Ting (second right) presenting an agreement letter to a representative of a hawker association as Dr Sim (fourth left) looks on.

SIBU: The state government will pay Sibu Municipal Council (SMC) the RM15mln shortfall it suffered as a result of the lowering of assessment rates from 2016 to 2019.

Local Government and Housing, Datuk Seri Dr Sim Kui Hian revealed this during his visit to the SMC office yesterday.

He said the state government with the approval of the cabinet had consented to give that amount to the council.

“During the last two years, I heard that SMC faced a deficit of RM15mln. This was because Tok Nan (Pehin Sri Adenan Satem) reduced the assessment rates when he was the chief minister.”    

Dr Sim said despite the lower income, SMC was able to maintain its services to the people which included grass cutting, street lighting, garbage collection and others.

He said the state government would not hike the assessment rates despite lower collection.  

“Ours is a people-centric policy. Despite the lower income from the assessment rates, we will not increase the assessment rates but instead will continue with Toh Nan’s policies.

“All this is possible as Sarawak under the Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS) is prosperous and strong,” he assured.

The state under the GPS government, Dr Sim added, was also self-reliant as it sourced for its own funds instead of asking it from the federal government.  

“In the next two years, if the people trust us, the state income of RM5bln to RM6bln will be increased to RM20bln a year. That is why we can give back RM15mln to SMC,” he added.

On the urban renewal plans for Sibu and Kuching, he said Sarawak United People’s Party (SUPP) Bukit Assek chairman, Datuk Chieng Buong Toon had been appointed as the advisor for the plan.

“These urban renewal plans will be carried out under the 12th Malaysia Plan. GPS is seriously looking deep into the plans.  They are not just for a small community as we want them to cover economic development, education, commerce and so on,” Dr Sim said.

On Petros stations, he said this town would also have one besides two in Kuching.

Dr Sim said a proper site with an area of 3 to 5 acres of land was needed to build the station. Earlier, he approved a sum of RM500,000 for the development of Sibujaya Pasar Tamu.

At the function, SMC chairman, Councillor Clarence Ting presented agreement letters to two hawker associations, Sibu Division Hawkers Association and Meradong District Hawkers Association.

Ting (second right) presenting an agreement letter to a representative of a hawker association as Dr Sim (fourth left) looks on.